Arsenal targets €18m-rated Atletico Madrid striker Adrian Lopez

Arsenal have made Atletico Madrid striker Adrian Lopez their No.1 January transfer target.

The Londoners plan to open negotiations with the Spanish club in time to secure the signing of the forward soon after the transfer window re-opens.

Manager Arsene Wenger has intensified his interest in the 24-year-old Spain international after failing in a bid to capture him in the summer. The Arsenal boss has been encouraged by the knowledge that Adrian has a €18 million release clause in his contract.

After identifying the reinforcement of Arsenal’s striking department as one of his main priorities when the transfer window re-opens, Wenger wants to wrap up a stellar signing early in January rather than rush through a deal at the end of the month.

The title hopefuls will lose Gervinho on Africa Cup of Nations duty in January for up to six weeks and Theo Walcott will be free to sign a pre-contract with a foreign club at the turn of the year ahead of a move next summer, when his current agreement expires.

Wenger is a big admirer of Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente, who is out of contract at the end of the season, but the powerful forward is not regarded as a realistic target because Arsenal believe he is too similar to Olivier Giroud.

Wenger has received excellent feedback from his scouts on Adrian, who has been hailed in some quarters as the new David Villa.

Like the Spain and Barcelona star, Adrian is an orthodox striker, who has the versatility to play anywhere across the front three, and has a proven scoring record at club and age-group level for the Spanish national team.
Arsenal’s recently published financial results demonstrate that the club have cash reserves of £50m available to spend on new players next year.